Smiles – Frolic: A Color Pencil Artwork that celebrates life.

In 2014, I had started working on a series of drawings that I had named “Smiles.” I had barely managed to color one of them when I faced my first real loss – the loss of a loved one. All other drawings in this series found their way into my Incomplete Drawings folder, and have stayed there as sketches.

This morning, I was struggling to find something happy to post. As I rummaged through my drawings done during the last two years, all I came up with were dark angry works – works that have no business appearing on a caricaturist’s blog. Then I came upon this, and I thought that if it was bright enough to bring a smile to my face, it was bright enough to be posted here.

Caricature of a funny girl smiling with a mouse that swings from her ears. Smiles Caricatures by Shafali.

Series: Smiles, Title of the Work: Frolic, Actual Size: 8″x10″, Medium: Color Pencils

I hope this spring-summer caricature brightens up your day too. Now I must get back to painting the Cover for Barbara G. Tarn’s novella “Charioteer of Buddha.”

The Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

Sometimes somethings come to you unbidden. They steal upon you with the finesse of a cat and surprise you; they wipe the frown off your brow and break your face into a smile.

I had been hankering after The Song of Ice and Fire for more than a year. Actually, since I watched Game of Thrones on TV. I’d look it up whenever I’d visit a book shop, but I could never bring myself to buy it. A set of seven books, each splitting at the seams with about a thousand pages, can make you worry. Will you be able to read them all? Will you like the author’s writing style? Will the story be engaging enough? It’s one thing to sit through an hour-long episode and another to plod through an unending ocean of words. Before you’ve read an author, you never know whether his words are tiny angels that will take you in a world that you won’t want to leave, or little black devils that will plunge you into the depths of reading hell. I had never read anything by George R. R. Martin, so I had no idea what kind of little guys his words were.

Now you must be wondering why I didn’t buy just one book at first and then went for the others? That would be the practical thing to do. Unfortunately, I am not practical. I haven’t made a single practical decision in my life. I am impulsive and emotional. One of the zillion impractical impulses that drive my life is buying books that aren’t just great to read but that also look beautiful. I also like books from an author to look like they belong to him. So unless I’ve already fallen for a specific writer’s work, and I must buy their books as soon as they hit the stalls, I enjoy getting sets. They give me a sense of security and continuity. I know that after finishing one book, I’ll have the next one waiting!

Now George Martin’s books tell one long story, they look mysterious and attractive, and I couldn’t say if I’d be hooked or be saddled – and so the plan of getting the books went into limbo, but the secret yearning didn’t fade away.

Three days ago, I received an unexpected gift. Wrapped in red, it stood on my desk. I suddenly knew what a groom in an Indian arranged marriage feels when he first sees his bride – a package wrapped in red, a bundle of surprises, but first he must lift the veil.

I picked it up, expecting it to be lighter than it was, and immediately knew that it had books inside. All those words, they weigh a lot. For the last whole month, I hadn’t mentioned my craving for GRRM’s books – not once! And yet, there they were! Looking awesome, fantastical, mysterious, rich, and inviting!

Here’s a picture of my treasure:

Song of Ice and Fire - the set of 7 Books - Game of thrones by George R. R. Martin.

Ready to forget myself!

The books in the picture aren’t in sequence. Here’s the order in which you must read the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”:

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
  4. A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
  5. A Feast for Crows
  6. A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
  7. A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

I’m already at page 359 of A Game of Thrones, and this is just the beginning of my journey into Westeros and Essos.

I am also reminded of the only Game of Thrones character that I’ve ever sketched – Peter Dinklage in the role of the unforgettable Tyrion Lannister – the only Lannister who stands tall (I speak from what I know of him through the first 359 pages.)

Caricature, Cartoon, Pencil Portrait of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) - Game of Thrones

Knowledge and Cunning are my most lethal weapons!

 

 

Writers of the Future Contest – Honorable Mention.

Here’s the story of the story that I wrote for the Writers of the Future Contest, and which won me this cute blue badge 🙂

Writers of the Future - Honorable Mention badge for my science fiction short story.

It all began in mid-September with David Farland’s newsletter, in which he mentioned that the deadline for sending the fourth quarter entries for Writers of the Future contest was September 30th. Like all serious readers of his newsletter, I considered the date seriously, and noted it on my whiteboard. Then I checked out the site and realized that the contest invited entries only in Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, which meant that the stuff that I had been writing until then, which included modern-day mysteries, thrillers, or even inspirational stories involving non-fantastical real world beings such as cats, dogs, even birds; wasn’t welcome.

This limited the scope somewhat. My connection with fantasy genre is limited to a casual reading of Tolkien’s LOR and an artist’s peek into my wonderful client Barbara G. Tarn’s books. That left me pondering if science fiction was something I could play with. I enjoy watching science fiction movies and I am Michael Crichton fan. My regular readers know that I own a rickety time-machine that has developed a habit of running out of fuel in odd places and times. Oh, and I am an engineer by education. All this made me decide upon science-fiction as the genre for my contest-entry.

And so I wrote a story and uploaded it for the contest. Right after the bird had flown, I began to see the cracks in my story. My descriptions of smells, sounds, even the characters were either non-existent or minimal;  stuff that I had just skipped over suddenly started looking important, the climax of the story came too late, the resolution could’ve been stronger…the list went on and on – the only thing that actually made sense still, was the story, and a wow that it had garnered from its only reader, my rougher and saner other-half. After berating myself for being in such a tearing hurry all the time, I shook my head, got rid of those nagging thoughts, forgot about the story I had sent, and got back to work.

In the first week of December, I received a surprise email from Ms. Joni Labaqui of Galaxy Press telling me that I had won an Honorable Mention for my story. The badge arrived this morning and I just had to share it 🙂

So there you go. That was my story of the story that I wrote for the Writers of the Future contest.

Now I must get back to the drawing tablet 🙂 I will share some of my new creations with you very soon.

 

Pilgrims arrive in Cuba – Illustration: Governor Hutchinson & Castro Brothers

Following is one of my more recent illustrations for the Talk Business and Politics magazine.
Pilgrims on Mayflower - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson travels to Cuba to meet Castro Brother for trade. Illustration for the magazine Talk Business and Politics

The Artwork:

On the left page, you see Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Randy Veach, and Lisenne Rockefeller. The right page has the Castro brothers (Fidel Castro and Raul Castro) in a red car. The left page artwork (which also was the cover-art) is conceptualized around the Pilgrims theme.

The Pilgrims:

In 1620, 132 people sailed from England to America (or the New World.) They arrived on the shores of America in an awkward looking ship called the Mayflower. This ship wasn’t built for long voyages on the open seas, and so the journey from England to the East Coast of America lasted two long months. Upon arriving at Cape Cod, they experienced a climate that was colder than they were used to, so they stayed aboard facing an outbreak of a disease that dwindled their number to 53. The passengers then made huts, settled down, and came to be known as the pilgrims.  Land was sighted on November 9, 1620 and it was then that the first prayer of thanksgiving was offered.

The connection:

The brief was that the Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and two other dignitaries who traveled to Cuba with trade-plans must be shown as the pilgrims approaching the Cubans in a ship (Mayflower.)

The Castro Brothers:

Fidel and Raul Castro have ruled Cuba for more than 50 years. The brothers are often seen together in public.

US-Cuba Relations:

More than 50 years ago, Cuba was placed under sanctions by US. The sanctions that were the outcome of a tussle on oil were imposed in the Kennedy era, and are still in existence. A few years ago, relations between the two countries began to thaw, with both President Obama and Raul Castro “apparently” being on the same page of the embargo story.

And yet, Cuba isn’t really opening its heart for trade with the United States, because despite the green-flag that the United States has been waving on the business front, the embargo is still on – and they would remain until Cuba demonstrates democracy. In general human rights in cuba have been a serious concern for the world-community. According to the US Government, between 1959 and 1993, 1.2 Million Cubans left Cuba for the US for reasons ranging from political executions, forced labor camps, and myriad other instruments of oppression have been in use to the lack of decision-making freedom on issues of health, religion etc.

For the embargo to go, Cuba must become more democratic. Changes are underway and the US Government has been taking a note of it. For instance in 2011, it became legal for Cubans to buy and sell homes. In 2013, Cuba abolished travel restrictions, allowing Cubans to travel the world over. If things move in the right direction, Americans might even get an opportunity to own a home in Cuba.

Right now, US and Cuba are approaching each other with caution and hope 🙂

Check out the Cover Art here.

 

7 Googling Accidents – What they wanted and what they found.

There’s a saying that an empty mind is the devil’s workshop. Yesterday, my mind was empty, and so the devil rented it for a day, set up office, and went rummaging my stats.

This is what it found:

1. madurie dik shet necked pic

Either you know what that is or you don’t. The underside of being a screen-diva is that about half the world population wants to witness you in all your “necked” glory. It doesn’t matter if the diva is now past her prime, it doesn’t matter if she now wears the highly respectable shoes of an Indian mom, all they want it to see her “necked” pic. Now why a passionate search for such “pics” of Ms. Dik shet should bring someone to my blog is beyond my comprehension. I never sketched nor painted Ms. Dik shet, and I never draw necked pics. In fact, sometimes, even the mice I draw are either wearing diapers or at least a bandolier.

2. download images of scheching in acters

Scheching in acters? What is scheching?

  • Scratching?
  • Measles?
  • A euphemism of something unspeakable?

Or could it be a euphemism for sketches? Aha. Perhaps it is. Glad I got it right. But why download such images, if not for the nefarious purpose of painting over another artist’s sketch. Over the years I’ve received odd requests. A lady wanted to “copy” my caricatures and sell them with my permission; a gentleman wanted to use a drawing to create a 3D model of the face with it, another young man wanted to use a caricature for his avatar. I come across bloggers using images of paintings that they found by googling in their blogposts – without a permission statement/declaration that it’s a free image.

3. +18 caricature stories

Now this is a 66 percent match! caricatures and stories you can find here but unfortunately the +18 stuff isn’t. (I presume +18 is the steamy stuff of the “necked” kind.) I am genuinely curious to find how that search-string was born. Do people really enjoy +18 stories drawn as caricatures? Perhaps they do. Years ago I heard of a comic that presented a certain bhabhi (elder brother’s wife,) a +18 super-woman who engaged in various +18 acts with a wide-range of men. I am not a caricaturist who does those kind of drawings. Sorry searcher. You’ve got to take your searches elsewhere.

4. pics of dirty and comedy indian people with name laxman

I’m lost again. Dirty and comedy Indian people with name Laxman? Specifically named Laxman? Huh? I know that dirty clothes can actually make you look funny (comedy) but only if the dirt tells a story. My blog isn’t about Laxman, nor about dirty and “comedy” people, and so I trust that this searcher didn’t find what he or she was looking for, at least on my blog. I wish the searcher luck and cleanliness.

5. death caricatures

What?
Are you really looking for caricatures of death? I am not sure if I’ve understood your requirement correctly. I also have a feeling that upon arriving on my blog, you felt cheated. You wanted to give me a single-star rating and tell me that you didn’t find what you had expected, and so in your opinion my blog isn’t good, while I’ll continue to wonder how a basket of fresh apples could be rotten just because you were looking for oranges.

6. pictures of ugly people cartoon drawing of a naked woman

???

Ok. Pick one of the following:

  • Ugly people drawing naked woman
  • Cartoon drawing of ugly people with naked woman
  • Cartoon drawing of naked woman watching pictures of ugly people
    Pictures of ugly people that’ve grown hands and are now animatedly drawing a naked woman
Now the clincher.
None of these options are available on this blog. Ugly and naked don’t happen here.

7. was cleopatra ugly ?

Finally. Now this is a question that only an intelligent person can ask. Cleopatra’s pedigree doesn’t matter. The fact that she was the last Pharaoh of Egypt doesn’t matter. That she could seduce both Caesar and Antony and wrap them around her pinkie doesn’t matter. All her accomplishments don’t matter. She couldn’t have become this famous by using her brains – could she? If she weren’t beautiful, then how in the world she did all that?

Good question. It is answered on this blog. Search again.

My Tutankhamun Affair resulted in this Caricature!

First, the caricature.

Caricature of a Grumpy Old Man (Inspired from the description of Theodore Davis in The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacques)

My friends know that I love Egypt. Not the bundle of confusion that it is today, but the Egypt that existed in its glorious past – the Ancient Egypt. Blinded by this love, a few years ago, I purchased a book called “The Tutankhamun Affair.” It is written by Christian Jacq, an author noted for the fiction and non-fiction works on Egypt. My friends also know that I have a marked preference for fiction. When I picked up the book around a decade ago, I had no idea that the guy wrote non-fiction too…and that I was buying a somewhat boring biographical account of Howard Carter’s quest for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I brought the book home and settled down for a thrilling ride that I hoped would take me through both ancient and modern Egypt. As I started turning its pages, I realized that there were easier ways to die than reading The Tutankhamun Affair, and as dying wasn’t on my to-do list, I pushed the book the farthest I could inside my boring-books book-rack.

A month ago, one of my archaeological expeditions yielded The Tutankhamun Affair – a book I hadn’t read. So I gave it another shot.

Oddly, I didn’t find it as boring this time as I did earlier. Either my own boredom-resistance quotient has gone up, or I’ve learned a few things in the last 10 years – things that now enable me to relate to the tribulations of poor Mr. Carter.

I know that the yarn is growing longer – before you get tangled up and are thrown off-balance and off my blog, I’ll let the story of this imaginary caricature of Mr. Theodore Davis out of the bag.

Mr. Davis appears on page 124 of the soft-cover edition.

“Of average height, Theodore Davis gave an impression of weakness.He did not move without a stick, hid his throat with a white scarf and covered his head with a wide-brimmed hat. His Jodhpurs and puttees made him look like a rider without his horse. A thick moustache spread like the wings of a bird covering the lower part of his face. His gaze was aggressive behind the round lenses of his tiny spectacles.” – Chapter 28, The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq

I removed his Jodhpurs and puttees and gave him a sensible pair of trousers. (Jodhpurs and puttees are both Indian terms – puttees: bandages.)

That description painted a picture for me and I laughed. So I drew that picture for you, hoping that it would make you laugh too 🙂 I hope it does.

Paris Attacks – Why?

Paris Attacked

They attack everything that celebrates life.
They love to spread hatred and sow strife.

They do it…
Because they follow orders unthinking,
They walk around like zombies, unblinking.

They do it…
Because they think that the world is theirs by right.
They kill because they want to show their might.


They walk into a concert, they throw grenades,
they blow-up and smoke rises against the colonnades,

They do it…
Because venom was injected in their blood-stream,
long before they began to love, desire, and dream.

They do it…
Because caught in the web of their rote-learning,
they only want to see everything else burning.

Pen and Ink portrait of a girl - 9/11 and Terrorism. Cue-art for Creativity Carnival.

Sometimes the harshness of reality blinds us. It makes us avert our eyes, turn our back, and run away – back to the comfort of our homes, where we think we are safe.
But the reality doesn’t cease to exist.
It exists as 9/11, 11/26, Charlie Hebdo, and yesterday’s Paris Attacks.
We see the flares and wonder how it may have happened.
Then we turn and go back to the comfort of our homes, where we think we are safe.

 

The Kingfisher – About Rain, Dew, Tears, and Fish.

As a student of Management, I had learned about TOMA or Top of the Mind Awareness. If we remove the chaff of the jargon, what it means is that some brands grow so big, that when a customer thinks of an industry, that particular brand comes to his mind first. For instance, if I think of sport-shoes, I think of Nike, if I think of watches, I think Titan, and so on. TOMA is the final stage of creating brand-awareness – the first two being brand-recognition and brand-recall.

This is precisely the case with this kingfisher who often sits on the electricity wire that kills the view from my window. I sometimes wonder how various animals and birds make such connections. Either evolution hardwired these connections in them or they got conditioned to make these connections, but whenever I look at the kingfisher, I feel that he’s connecting the dots.

Bird kingfisher painting - wildlife, pets, and bird paintings by shafali

A single-minded, focused individual is like this kingfisher here. An artist or a writer is however the stark opposite of this kingfisher. For these ilk of people, a raindrop is pregnant with a hundred possibilities; a dewdrop with a thousand. The creatives need the kingfisher to continue creating; the kingfishers need the creatives to make their lives worthwhile.

The Caricaturist Returns from Krypton via Atlantis!

Just returned 🙂

A time-travel-space-travel combo can leave you drained! As you might’ve already surmised, my visit to Krypton took place in the past, before the planet had exploded. I didn’t go there by choice, General Zod‘s forces had abducted me and taken me away to caricature the whole council of elders. (Apple-polisher, that General Zod.) I had finished creating all their caricature-portraits just a few days before the cataclysm – and from there I was jettisoned into the future and landed in Argo City. Most of my time there, I was a prisoner who was tortured and had to draw whatever they wanted me to draw.

Superman helped me escape. Mainly because Krypto the Superdog put in a good word for me. I must tell you that Superman might be a great guy otherwise, but he really needs to wash that cape of his.

Unfortunately, before I could land safely back and before my feet could find solid ground, Superman was charmed away by a bevy of Atlantian beauties; meanwhile I was whisked away to Atlantis, where I was once again forced to paint their council of elders.

Last night, I suddenly woke up in my own bed. I have no idea how I reached home, but I have a feeling that the Atlantians decided that I was changing a nation of beautiful people into caricatures of themselves, and so they decided that enough was enough!

And so, ladies and gentlemen! I am back 🙂

Caricature Portrait of Jimmy Fallon – the New Donald Trump.

Today is Jimmy Fallon’s Birthday. Yes, I’m talking about the new Donald Trump 🙂

Caricature Portrait of Jimmy Fallon - the Tonight show Host who is the New Donald Trump

Your Interview of Donald Trump was Fabulous.
Happy Birthday, Jimmy Fallon.

This is huuu……………..uuuuge. Isn’t it?

Creativity Carnival: Inspiration

(Note: Please disregard the previous carnival post done today.)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the eighth edition of the Creativity Carnival.  The previous carnival “Girl” wasn’t a bright and happy cue-art – and yet some fabulous bloggers bit the proverbial bullet and plunged in. Thank you for participating. I know that you want my dark spell to end.

I hope that this week’s prompt will accomplish that.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

Here is the cue-art for this week. It’s very different from all the previous cue-arts. I must tell you that this is one of my older drawings. The cue-art that I had actually created for this week, turned out to be even darker than the one I posted for the previous carnival. I think we all need a break from me 🙂

Pen and Ink Drawing of Newton biting into an apple.

 

Here are few simple rules.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a ping back is registered. It will help other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it.

IMPORTANT:

1. Links to the pages and the home-page of a blog don’t result in a ping back.
2. Links created through an image (linking an image to a post) don’t create a ping back. 

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.

Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

About Girl

In my opinion, Girl is one my most complex drawings. The mood that I was in the day I drew it, has a lot to do with the thoughts that became the Girl. In my mind, she is the ISIS girl. A girl who either joined them of her free will, or who was abducted, used, sold by them. She is young. Fifteen. Or she is No. 15. She has been persecuted for her faith, her family’s faith, and for being a woman. She hopes for peace but finds none. She lives in a dystopian future, symbolized by the torn calendar – with no hope, she is terrorized for footsteps coming her way…

Creativity Carnival: Girl

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the seventh edition of the Creativity Carnival.  That this edition comes to you on the anniversary of September 11 attacks makes it special. A tribute to humanity, courage, and kindness, yet a warning for the times to come, if the world took just one wrong step. It appears to me that the world, as a whole, may already have taken a few wrong steps – steps that in a few years from now could change our way of living.

Thanks for responding to the cue-art Handcuffs. It was a difficult prompt. Handcuffs usually have an immediate relevance for most of us, until of course, we venture into the realm of philosophy and psychology. And yet, the responses left me speechless.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

Here is the cue-art for this week. Please take it away with you, think about it, read the clues, then give a freehand to your creativity. I leave my drawing in your care.

Pen and Ink portrait of a girl - 9/11 and Terrorism. Cue-art for Creativity Carnival.

 

Here are few simple rules.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a ping back is registered. It will help other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it.

IMPORTANT:

1. Links to the pages and the home-page of a blog don’t result in a ping back.
2. Links created through an image (linking an image to a post) don’t create a ping back. 

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.

Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now – what inspired me to create the gun-art and what that picture means to me.

About Handcuffs.

Handcuffs were inspired by an event that I hope will never repeat itself. A rich socialite murdered her nineteen-year-old daughter. The story is complex and you can read it here. She was apprehended by the police and taken away for questioning. The image of her manacled hand, the possible reason for the murder – they didn’t leave me; they drove me to draw the handcuffs with the rose. It was a simple drawing, but a complex prompt. Thank you for participating.

Queen Elizabeth II becomes the Longest-reigning British Monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II (British Monarch: 6 February 1952 to Present.)Caricature Portrait Color Painting of Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest reigning monarch of Britain. Overtakes Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria who reigned as the Queen of United kingdom from 20 June 1837  to 22 January 1901, and who also remote-ruled India from 1 May 1876 to 22 January 1901, has been dethroned as the longest reigning British Monarch by Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Victoria was Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grand-mother, so she might’ve been genetically pre-disposed to long reigns.  Queen Elizabeth II never ruled India. (her reign upon the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Nations began on 6 February 1952, almost 7 years after India gained independence from the British.)

And yet, the fascination of the British with their monarchy never fails to amuse me. Perhaps they love to keep alive their connection with their glorious past, when the British, being the tiny nation they were, had conquered more than half the world. I don’t understand the reason why, and yet and as an artist I can’t marvel at the beauty of her crown, her dress, and her bearing. This is perhaps why I painted her caricature a couple of years ago.

I’ll end with an honest quote from Her Majesty The Queen.

I have to be seen to be believed.
– Queen Elizabeth II

Hats Women Wear: Portraits my Heart Painted.

I am painting the fourth portrait now. I started at 2 in the morning.

I love these hats because I paint them for the creator who lives inside me. Each of these hats is special because they lack design. I haven’t attempted to channel or even hide the chaos. Each of these has evolved organically. Usually I start an artwork with a sketch  then paint over it. I do this more out of need, I’d say; when you illustrate for a publication, there’s a review process that entails an approval on the sketch. The hat-paintings are all done without a supporting sketch. I would start painting a face, expressions would emerge; I’d then read those expressions and paint a hat that told the story of the expression on the face.

Artists speak of inspiration, of a portrait that painted itself; illustrators don’t. But within every illustrator lives is an artist. I don’t meet mine very often, but when I do – I paint stuff that’s oddly out-of-place on this blog.

For those who haven’t seen the hats yet.

Hats women wear - hat number 3 - portrait art - shafali - emotional and physical abuse

 

Women Girl Portraits - Face and Hat - Depression - Digital Painting by Shafali

 

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

The hats happened quite suddenly. Then they stopped. For about three months, I didn’t paint any. Now, I’m painting them again.

I can’t explain my behavior. Perhaps you can. I just know when I must paint them – the why of the hats as well as the inspiration, evades me.

 

Yuki’s Portrait – Novel Cover Art for Galaxy Police by Barbara G.Tarn

I worked on a novel cover this week, and loved the experience.

Here’s the Cover of Star Minds’ Interregnum – Galaxy Police, a book by Barbara G. Tarn.

Cover Art for Novel - Face of Chinese Woman Galactic Police of Star Mind series by Author Barbara G. Tarn
Visit http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014QDXQXE to download the book, and http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com to visit the author’s blog.

About my Client and the Author Barbara G. Tarn:

Working with Barb is always a fantastic experience. She gives me a lot of independence, allows me to add the details that I want to, and accommodates my idiosyncrasies. – but above all, she’s a lovely person.

I begin on any of her cover assignments after I’ve understood the storyline and figured out the role of the cover-art subject(s). Yuki, for instance, works in the Galaxy Police and she has a special ability – she can read clothes. The Yuki I met in the story is a confident woman who has a soft heart. Chinese faces are neotenous (they have childlike features – you can read more about neoteny in my book “Evolution of a Caricaturist,”) and a smile would’ve made her look even younger. So I went for a serious-but-soft look. If you are wondering about what made that look soft, you must look at her lips. Her lips are very slightly parted and turned up at the corners.  As one ages, lips thin out and the line of the mouth straighten in the middle (the pursed lips look.)

 

Do visit “Creativity Carnival – Faces” before you leave 🙂

Caricature-Cartoon: Carly Fiorina Leads in the First Debate.

Carly Fiorina’s Caricature Finally Leaves the Attic 🙂

Cara Carleton Fiorina or Simply Carly Fiorina has emerged a winner in the first Republican debate of today. Others who shared the stage with her were Bobby Jindal (Yes, the unhyphenated American,) Rick Santorum (with secrets and secret compartments in his closet,) Rick Perry (the bespectacled Bush-istic one,) George Pataki (Gosh! I wish I knew more about him), and Lindsey Graham (the lonely gentleman whose phone number was given out by Donald Trump).

While all these other gentleman have a lot of political experience on their side, Carly Fiorina has overcome substantial odds in the past. I’ll tell you about the insurmountable odds she surmounted, but in a minute.

First I must present the subject of this post:  Carly Fiorina’s Caricature.

Caricature Cartoon Drawing Sketch - Carly Fiorina - Women Republican Candidate for 2016 Presidential Elections.

Carly has been a top-shot in the corporate-pot, but the only other time she tried to get into the political-garb, she failed. It probably didn’t fit.

From what I read and hear, it’s possible that some of the other candidates who participated in the debate, Rick Perry in particular, was charmed by Fiorina’s good manners, her quiver of polished arrows, and her corporate background (which is dotted by at least one stark failure.)

Here’s a quick overview of the corporate journey undertaken by the only Woman Republican Candidate vying to be the President in 2016.

  • Carly started as an executive at AT&T (See? She started just like you and me.)
  • Then she was the CEO of HP from 1999 to 2005. (See? This is where she could do what you and I couldn’t.)
  • Next, she spearheaded the merger between HP and Compaq (and that is the reason I could never get a new battery for my first laptop (a fantastic Compaq machine.) (I think I’ll pin the blame on her.)
  • Then, she laid off 30,000 American workers. (I guess she did, because the HP mini that have is an abomination…and despite the company still being in business, their distribution is atrocious – and getting it a new battery for my mini took me a couple of years.)
  • She was still the head of HP when in 2005, HP’s stock had dwindled to half its value.
  • Finally, HP woke up and filed a mercy-petition with Carly. She obliged and resigned.

What does she do now?
I guess a lot of things – but she mostly involves herself with charity and works for the betterment of women. The caricaturist in me would like to work backwards and say that long ago she knew that she’d one day be running for the President of United States and she was gradually getting her heeled feet accustomed to her new running-shoes.

 

Blogging, Events, and 5 Easy Ways of Staying in Touch :)

My blogging life has two distinct phases. The Pre-blogging101 phase and the Post-blogging101 phase. The post-blogging101 phase has helped me make new friends, brought new followers for my blog, made me follow new blogs, correct the numerous error of my blogging-ways, helped me discover new blogging events, and given me a reason to organize the Creativity Carnival. That’s a huge takeaway for a 21-day mostly informal course. There’s no denying that it was a challenge to stay on course, and yet many of us managed to finish the race.

But there still is a challenge that looms large. It’s a bigger challenge than finishing the course. For the course was finite and had a definite end in sight. The other challenge is to continue blogging – and blogging, as we learned, isn’t about making posts – it’s about connecting too.

So how do we stay connected in the Post-Blogging101 world?

Here are:

5 Easy Ways to for Bloggers to Stay in Touch!

1. Use tags Smartly:

Before Blogging101, I was tag-ignorant. I’d use tags and I’d gun for quantity instead of quality. Now I know that for the WordPress Audience, following rules will yield best (better?) results:

  • Make sure that the sum of the number of categories and the number of posts never exceeds 15.
  • Use specific yet generic keywords. So if you want WordPress bloggers to arrive at your blog, “drawing” is a better keyword than “pen and ink portrait art.”
  • Use specific keywords as a group. For instance, if you want to connect with bloggers who took the Blogging101 course in July, use the keyword “blogging101july2015.” If all or many of the group members use this tag with their posts, and they also follow this tag in their Reader, there’s a good chance that they’ll all stay connected.

2. Use Reader Effectively:

Reader allows you to do the following:

  • Read posts from the blogs you follow – all in one place, in the chronological order of their posting.
  • Follow tags of your choice – You can add them (even remove the ones you don’t want anymore) and when you click one of those tags, the Reader will show you  Wordpress posts that’ve used that tag. Some of these could be specific tags that your group has decided to follow, others could be generic ones (such as, “drawing”, “writing” etc.) The generic tags will help you connect with new bloggers with similar interests.

3. Connect on other Social Media:

If you are an avid tweeter, you may want to follow your favorite bloggers on Twitter. If you are on FB perhaps you may want to connect on Facebook. Fellow blogger Carol Moulin has started Cafe Blog here. It’s a closed group, so when you send a request, Carol will have to approve it for you to become a member. I just joined, and I think it’s a great place to find new blogger-friends – read their posts, and invite them to read yours.

4. Participate in Blogging Events.

All of us know about Daily Post and the two main challenges that are hosted there – The Weekly Photo Challenge and the Daily Prompt. The idea is to choose a couple of blogging events and start participating…of course, based on the nature of your blog. Then there is listing of various blogging events, where you can also see our very own Creativity Carnival too (though it’s listed under Photography and Visual Arts – where it doesn’t really belong …)

If you want to explore the Creativity Carnival you can just click the following image.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Wondering how events help you connect?
Many bloggers participate in an event and when they do, ping backs are registered on the event-page. Participating bloggers are generally interested in finding out what others posted on a particular prompt or topic. This helps us build connections.

My personal opinion is to stay with one, two, or maximum three events of your choice for a while. It will nurture the connections you build, and will help fortify the expectations of your visitors.

5. Connect through email:

I am sure that in the course you’ve met a few people with whom you’ve really felt comfortable talking. Perhaps you’d like to email them. Remember that email is more personal than a comment – so if you don’t receive a reply, don’t feel bad. Perhaps the other party isn’t interested in a personal connection. Leave it there, don’t sulk, don’t unfollow, and please don’t ask why. Friendship is a two-way street.

If you can think of any other ways…let us know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Mount Rushmore Art – Illustrating what the Borglums Sculpted.

Mount Rushmore is an odd looking mountain. It’s got four presidential heads so it reminds me of Lord Brahma; it also makes me wonder why George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln made it there while the other Presidents didn’t.  This isn’t the only question that makes me itch for an answer. I am also curious why people like to see their faces on the mountain.

My research reveals that even Alfredl E. Neuman (the mascot of MAD magazine) has appeared as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore. I expect others to give in to human frailties, but I had always looked up to him – and frankly, never expected this from him. I guess it was the editor of the magazine who decided the cover should show the rocky-face of this funny guy with a missing tooth smiling upon the perfect American family and Alfred had no say in the matter.

As was the case with these four Business-Stars from Arkansas 🙂 I had done this artwork for the Jan-Feb 2015 issue of the TBP magazine.  From left to right they are:

  1. Al Bell
  2. Stephen L. LaFrance Sr.
  3. Donald E. “Buddy” Wray
  4. Millie Ward

 

Mount Rushmore in Popular culture - Arkansas Business Hall of Fame - for TBP Magazine.

Now a little about this grand mountain 🙂

Mount Rushmore – Historical Facts:

  • The commissioning of Mount Rushmore National Memorial was authorized on March 3, 1925.
  • President Coolidge, then President of the United States wanted that two Republicans and one Democrat should accompany George Washington’s face on the mountain.
  • The sculpting began in 1927 and ended in 1941. It was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln Borglum. The initial rough sculpting was done using dynamite.
  • At first, they tried sculpting Thomas Jefferson’s face on George Washington’s right, but the stone there wasn’t good, so they moved the face to Washington’s left.

Mount Rushmore Faces:

The four faces are:

  •  George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Abraham Lincoln

This caricaturist has caricatured two of the four faces on the monument:

1.  George Washington

Caricature, Cartoon of George Washington the first president of the US and the architect of the American Constitution voices his opinion on gun control.

President George Washington – Actual size: 8 inches by 10 inches.

 

and

2. Abraham Lincoln

Color Caricature - American President Abraham Lincoln - Digital Painting - Shafali

President Abraham Lincoln – Actual Size at 300 dpi: 12 inches by 12 inches (the above image is cropped on the sides.)

Creating the Mount Rushmore Artwork:

Honestly, it was a challenging assignment. As a portrait/caricature-artist, when you paint faces, you intuitively dip your brush (even your digital brush) into the right colors. The texture you are looking for is skin (for portraits) and skin-nish (for caricatures) and because you’ve painted so many, you know where you are going with it. In this artwork, I had to create the four likenesses in the color and texture of stone. The details had to go, if the Mount Rushmore look were to be maintained. That and everything else, including rest of the stony mountain, the debris left from the dynamiting…was a totally new experience and a challenge that left me with a lot of new learning.

I am working on another challenge right now – and will tell you about it when I can! Until then, explore my thoughts on the Creativity Carnival and if you think you’d like to participate in it at some point in time, leave your footprints behind and follow this blog, so that the first event pops up into your Reader this Friday 🙂

A Creativity Carnival – for Artists, Writers, Poets, and other Oddballs!

Friends, I still haven’t decided upon a Feature I’d want to go ahead with, but I did have a Creativity Carnival in mind.

I trust the following image captures what I had in mind for it. I’d like to thank my blogging101 friends for their inputs on it. While I am still not sure whether this should be a weekly event, I was wondering if some of us would like to give it shot, if I started it, say, coming Friday (July 31, 2015.)

Possible rules in a nutshell (Please recommend addition/deletion)

  1. Participating bloggers will have a week to make the post.
  2. The Pen and Ink Caricature drawing will serve as a cue.
  3. Participating bloggers would be welcome to write a story, an anecdote, a poem, or even draw a picture or post a doodle in response to the cue.
  4. Participating bloggers  will integrate the caricature-drawing into their posts.
  5. Participating bloggers will provide a ping-back to the carnival post so that other participants can visit their blogs and comment, like, and socialize.

Creativity Carnival for wordpress bloggers

Should I, should I not?

I had tried it once, but such an event cannot thrive on its own. I looked at the Daily Post event form – and a Creativity Carnival doesn’t fit into any of the given categories.

If you think that you’d like to be a part of it, please leave a smiley in the comments 🙂

More later – Keep drawing, writing, and smiling!

 

Oh No! My child is an Artist-in-Diapers!!

Yesterday, once again, a well-meaning parent wrote to me about his little one…and he sent me looking for this post I did a couple of years ago. This post is for parents who believe that their little one is an artist. I’ve said it all in this post, so I won’t say it again here. If there was a way to repost the post, I would 🙂

Do read it, especially if you’ve got a little one who dabbles in colors and makes you wonder if he or she is the next Picasso.

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist: A Post for the Parents of an Artist-in-Diapers!

And a little something to help you overcome your art-addiction.

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

Another post coming up for blogging101 friends 🙂